Partisanship, Voting, and the Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene

30 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2008 Last revised: 15 Mar 2009

Christopher T. Dawes

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine

Date Written: August 20, 2008

Abstract

Previous studies have found that both political orientations (Alford, Funk & Hibbing 2005) and voting behavior (Fowler, Baker & Dawes 2007, Fowler & Dawes 2007) are significantly heritable. In this article we study genetic variation in another important political behavior: partisan attachment. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we show that individuals with the A1 allele of the D2 dopamine receptor gene are significantly less likely to identify as a partisan than those with the A2 allele. Further, we find that this gene's association with partisanship also mediates an indirect association between the A1 allele and voter abstention. These results are the first to identify a specific gene that may be responsible for the tendency to join political groups, and they may help to explain correlation in parent and child partisanship and the persistence of partisan behavior over time.

Suggested Citation

Dawes, Christopher T. and Fowler, James H., Partisanship, Voting, and the Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene (August 20, 2008). Journal of Politics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1089365

Christopher T. Dawes (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dss.ucsd.edu/~cdawes/

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

UC San Diego School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

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